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Noun 

For a more detailed description of an Algonquian congener, see Cree. 
Blackfoot is also characterized by a fundamental dichotomy between 
animate and inanimate categories, a dichotomy which, from the Indo- 
European point of view, is not logically followed through. Thus, some trees 
are animate, others are not. Parts of the body are inanimate. Uhlenbeck 
quotes the interesting case of motokis 'skin, hide', which is animate but 
becomes inanimate after processing. Nouns denoting geographical terms are 
inanimate. 

NUMBER 

Animate nouns make a plural in 4ks{i): e.g. imita *dog', pi. imitaiks; ponoka 
'elk', pLponokaiks. An inanimate plural form is in -ists(iy e.g. nitummo 'hill', 
pi. nitummoists. There are many variant forms: e.g. ake 'woman', pi. akeks. 

CASE 

There is no declension, in an Indo-European sense. Congruence in the verb 
determines syntactical relations. 

Genitive: possessor precedes possessed: e.g. ninna otdnni 'my father's dau- 
ghter'. 

Obviative: {see Cree): obviative forms are used in Blackfoot for third person 
singular forms topically subordinate to focused (third) person. The focused 
third person may be implicit, e.g. unni 'his father': the form unni is obviative 
because the third person form actually though covertly focused is 'son'. 

Most animate nouns have a primary form in -ua, -a /wa/, with obviative in 
-ail-i\ e.g. for root -nn- 'father': ninna 'my father'; obv. ninni\ kinna 'your 
father'; obv. kinni. The third person form unni (obv.) has no primary form. 

Many kinship terms and designations for parts of the body are always 
accompanied by the indefinite personal possessive prefix mo-. 

Adjective 

A small number of independent adjectives precede or follow the noun as 
attributives: e.g. ponokdmitaiks axsiks 'the good horses' {axsi 'good'). 
Qualifying material is usually prefixed to the noun; there is a large number 
of such adjectival prefixes: e.g. 

inak- 'small', e.g. aatsista 'rabbit', inakaatsista 'small rabbit'; 
ino' 'long', e.g. inokinistsiu 'he has long arms'; 
man- 'new', e.g. manokimiu 'he has a new lodge' {oki 'lodge'); 
matsiu 'good-looking', e.g. matsoake 'good-looking woman'; 
sik- 'black', e.g. siksika 'Blackfoot tribe'. 



SECOND EDITION Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada 

COMPENDIUM WORLD'S george l. Campbell byRoutledge 

OF THE LANGUAGES ISBN 0-415-20298-1 (Set) © 1991, 2000 George L. Campbell 



Pronoun 

Emphatic (independent) and possessive/verbal subject or object (prefixed): 



Singular 



Plural 





Emphatic 


Prefix 




Emphatic 


Prefix/Suffix 


1 


nistoa 


ni(t)-, ho- 


excl 


nistunan 


ni(t)- . . . (i)nan 








inch 


ksistunan 


ki(t)- . . . (i)nun 


2 


ksistoa 


ki(t)-, ko- 




ksistoau 


ki(t)- . . . oau 


3 


ostoi 


0-, ot- 




ostoauai 


o- . . . oauai 


:ar 


nple of possessive declension, 


stem 


^kos ^child': 


nokos 'my child': 




Singular 


Plural 








1 


nokos 


excl nokosinan 
inch kokosinun 








2 


kokos 


kokosoau 








3 


okos 


okosoauai 









DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN 

amo 'this' ('here-being'); oma 'that' ('there-being'). These are declined for 
singular and plural, animate and inanimate, and the forms can be verbalized. 

INTERROGATIVE PRONOUN 

taka 'who?'; tsalaxsa 'what?'. Often combined with relative pronoun (see 
below): e.g. Taka annaxk ninauaxk? 'Who is (it that is) the chief?' (ninau 
'chief'). 

RELATIVE PRONOUN 

annalanni-\- xka (singular); many variants. The form is marked for number 
and category, animate/inanimate: e.g. Annixk nit.axpummmx^ napioyisk 
ikomaxko 'The house which I bought is very large.' 



SECOND EDITION Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada 

COMPENDIUM WORLD'S george l. Campbell byRoutledge 

OF THE LANGUAGES ISBN 0-415-20298-1 (Set) © 1991, 2000 George L. Campbell 



Verb 

The basic division is into transitive and intransitive verbs, with each of which 
classes a specific set of endings is associated. Whereas there is only one 
paradigm for most intransitive verbs, the transitive verb has two paradigms, 
depending on whether the object is animate or inanimate. Thus, nit.siksipau 
'I bite him (anim.)'; nitsikstsixp 'I bite it (inanim.)'. Structurally, passive 
forms underlie the transitive paradigms: cf. siksipau, which is an indefinite 
passive animate form 'he is bitten by somebody'. The same form siksipau 
also means 'we (incl.) bite him (indie, trans, anim.)'. To this form the 
personal prefixes are added: nit siksipau T bite him' (lit. 'he is bitten by me'). 
The verbal paradigm is marked for two numbers, three persons, and 
obviative. 

MOODS 

The indicative is not specifically marked. There are three versions: 

affirmative, negative, and interrogative. 
As a specimen of Blackfoot conjugation: here are the singular forms of the 
-siksi- stem 'to bite', in three persons plus obviative; intransitive and trans- 
itive affirmative. 

Intransitive Transitive animate Transitive inanimate 

1 nit.ai.sikstaki nit.(ai).siksipau nit.(ai).sikstsixp 

2 kit.ai.sikstaki kit. (ai). siksipau kit.(ai).sikstsixp 

3 ai.sikstakiu siksipiu sikstsim 

4 ai.sikstakinai siksipinai sikstsiminai 

The paradigm continues with forms for plural 1, 2, 3, plus forms for plural 
object, animate, and inanimate. 

There are several other moods: e.g. the causative, formed from the 
intransitive stem + -ats- + transitive animate ending: e.g. nit.aisimi 'I drink' 
(intrans); nit.aisimi.ats.au 'I cause/give him to drink'. (NB -ai- in the above 
example and in the paradigm is the durative marker). Similarly, the 
imperative, benef active, translative, conditional, subjunctive, and optional 
moods have specific markers. The negative marker is -mat-. 

The many hundreds of forms thus generated in the basic conjugation of 
the Blackfoot verb are infinitely extended by means of composition with 
nominal stems, and by modal prefixes of manner, locus, time, degree, etc. 
For example, almost any noun denoting a part of the body can be 
compounded with any relevant verb in any form, and with any relevant affix 
of manner. This leads naturally to rather long words. One example from 
Uhlenbeck (1938): 

osotamomaxkakaiitapisaksitokaie 

Then he was suddenly shot by him (obv) in the thigh, so that there was a 
gap in it' 
The nominal component here is mo.apisk 'thigh'. Uhlenbeck lists about 150 
modal prefixes. 

SECOND EDITION Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada 

COMPENDIUM WORLD'S george l. Campbell byRoutledge 

OF THE LANGUAGES ISBN 0-415-20298-1 (Set) © 1991, 2000 George L. Campbell